The international profile of the wines of Croatia's premier tourist island was raised once more at the London Wine Trade Fair on May 22, with Hvar's leading producer Zlatan Otok winning three medals at the prestigious Decanter 2012 World Wine Awards.
Croatian wines in general, which are starting to make inroads into the UK market, enjoyed overall success, as was noted by the Decanter press release
"A number of other unusual winemaking countries fared particularly well this year. Turkey saw 83% of its wines receive an award, Slovenia achieved 77% and Croatia 63%.
"Tastings director Christelle Guibert said, ‘It’s great to see so many rarely-seen wine-producing countries do so well at this year's DWWA, often faring much better than more established countries and famous regions. It just goes to show how far the quality of wine has come in countries that, like the UK, were once considered to be on the fringes of wine production.’"
Zlatan Otok, which is based in the south-facing village of Sveta Nedjelja on Hvar, and whose steep sloping vineyards are among the best in the world for Croatia's premier grape variety, Plavac Mali, won two awards for its red wines - Bronze Medal for its 2008 and 2009 Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru for Croatia, as well as the regional winner for Croatian white wine over £10 with its 2010 Posip
The awards are the latest endorsement of Hvar's vintner, and come after the winery's owner, Zlatan Plenkovic, received the inaugural Milan Ozic Award
for his services to Croatian wine at the recent Dalmacija Wine Expo, as reported by Digital Journal.
"We are delighted for the recognition of Zlatan Otok's wines on the international stage," said Ivana Krstulovic Caric, President of the Hvar Wine Association, "and we hope that the raising of the profile of Hvar's wines will lead to more interest in our quality product and 2,400 year wine history."
Hvar, better known for its sun, beaches and celebrity draw, is becoming known as a wine destination as Croatian wines in general, powered by the Zinfandel-related Plavac Mali grape, are slowly beginning to attract international attention. With a wine tradition dating back to the Ancient Greeks and the sunniest vineyards in the Adriatic, is producing wines which are attracting international recognition such as the organic golds won by the Ivan Dolac Barrique
in Germany, and by international wine writers, such as Othmar Stäheli
from Switzerland, who Digital Journal interviewed on a successful visit to the island last week.